Things have changed. Time for the Democratic Party to revise its game plan.
Before and After: Covid-19
What a difference a day makes.
A great many things have changed since that fateful South Carolina Democratic Primary at the end of February.
The South Carolina Democratic primary was the catalyst that swung the pendulum towards the Biden campaign. With the wind from South Carolina in his sails, Joe Biden moved into a commanding lead over the remaining contenders who were then still in the race.
Since Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) began the charge into the Biden camp, many things have fallen neatly into place for the Biden campaign. After Clyburn’s endorsement, and Biden’s subsequent primary win in South Carolina, top Democrats who had thus far avoided supporting Biden fell into place, too.
High-profile endorsements piled up. Biden’s Democratic rivals for the nomination dropped out, one by one, and endorsed him. Biden campaign donations flowed.
But not everything has broken Biden’s way since South Carolina. And a funny thing happened on the way to crown Joe Biden the Democratic nominee.
The Covid-19 outbreak has sent the country into a tailspin, with the Democratic Party- like everything else- along with it. What voting Democrats wanted from a leader only two months ago are not the same things they are wanting now.
It’s been a long two months.
The party’s needs have changed, and mightily. Now, Democrats need much more than simply someone who polls well in hypothetical matchups against Donald Trump solved for November.
Democratic voters have been seriously lacking in enthusiasm for the Biden campaign since he joined the race. Even considering this crisis, they still are.
At this point, Democratic voters could enthusiastically support someone they have the utmost confidence could expertly lead the country through the aftermath of this outbreak.
Democratic voters want someone they trust can oversee the economic rebuilding efforts that will be necessary to right the U.S. economy. It is increasingly clear that these efforts will be far more onerous than merely reopening businesses.
There is no shame in the Democratic Party reevaluating Joe Biden’s suitability for the nomination in light of Covid-19. The shame would be in not doing it.
Covid-19 should cause the Democratic Party to reevaluate its decision to back Joe Biden, and plenty of other decisions at that. And if the outbreak of Covid-19 isn’t enough to justify a change of tact, what on Earth would be enough to justify it?
Before Covid-19, it seemed to some progressive voters that leadership Democrats must have abandoned hope of beating Trump in November in backing Biden.
Two-months ago Trump was running as an incumbent president during a massive economic upswing, after all. With not an insignificant amount of enthusiasm from his base and an economy at full employment. Those are historical advantages no amount of wishful polling or Twitter-denouncing can deny.
What could running Joe Biden have been two-months ago but an attempt by Democrats to cut their losses? Biden, it was thought then might lose the general election to Trump; but he might not take the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives with him.
Not like Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, it was feared, couldn’t possibly win the White House and would instead hurt incumbent House Democrats facing tough races in purple and swing districts.
Well, in case the Democratic Party hasn’t noticed, things are much different today and the needs of Democratic voters have changed.
Things are different for Donald Trump, too. And not in a good way. Reelection prospects that were looking reasonably rosy are looking a little shakier.
The Democratic Party has a good chance of beating Donald Trump in November. But not if the party isn’t even willing to reevaluate the merits of the Joe Biden campaign in the wake of Covid-19.
Joe Biden has not covered himself in glory during the Corona outbreak. He is not prepared to fight a purely digital campaign battle against the Trump campaign. There is a major lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden.
He doesn’t debate well, and he doesn’t command much authority at a time when sensible authority is needed. Biden is a poor fundraiser, a poor campaigner and he has proven time and again that he cannot endure difficult questions about his ever-growing pile of personal baggage.
That he has been credibly accused of sexual assault by someone who once worked for him when he was a Senator in 1993 should be the last straw. Though the last straw really should have been the eight other women- like Lucy Flores- who stepped-up a year ago to accuse Biden of unwanted touching.
It isn’t too late for the Democratic Party to change horses, and change horses it must. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
If the party feels Sen. Bernie Sanders is too polarizing, fine. The choice isn’t between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Not anymore.
As the early, halcyon days of the primary proved, the Democratic Party is filled with talent.
Sen. Kamala Harris would make an excellent president. Her leadership, good sense and pragmatic manner might appeal to a population reeling from the terror of disease and economic decimation.
In light of recent events that have reshaped the landscape, political and otherwise, Harris might even be persuaded to return to the race. In time, she might even forgive us for our collective dismissal of her campaign.
Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.
Which begs the ultimate question at the heart of this matter: Would Democrats, knowing what they know now, still have selected Joe Biden?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)